Human Resources for Postdoctoral Scholars:
Postdocs who need HR assistance should start by contacting their school or division’s HR office. For School/Division HR Representatives Contact: Jordan Todd, HR Consultant.
Essie Torres, Director of Strategy for Research Diversity Workforce and Community Partnerships
Essie Torres is the interim director for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
She can be reached at Essie.Torres@unc.edu or by phone at 919-962-1319.
Alan Marsh, Associate Director
Alan Marsh is the primary administrator responsible for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Alan directs initiatives and oversees the implementation of training programs for the UNC postdoctoral population. Other responsibilities include providing resources, centralizing communications, informing policy, liaising with different offices across campus, and engaging with faculty. Alan enjoys highlighting the achievements of UNC postdocs and providing a support network to help provide community for postdocs working at the university.
As a molecular microbiologist, Alan’s research focused on finding bacterial solutions for gut health via probiotics and prebiotics. He received his PhD from University College Cork in Ireland, where he studied the microbial populations of fermented foods, and peptide antimicrobials. Following a year working as a postdoctoral associate researching how probiotics can be used to improve gut health in piglets, he moved to UNC-CH to work with the Microbiome Core and the Azcarate-Peril lab. Here, he studied the gut microbiome of human organ donors, performed expression analyses, and studied the impact of nutritional fiber on gut microbial populations. A passionate advocate for postdocs, Alan was chair of the UNC Postdoctoral Association for 2 years before transitioning to his current role as Associate Director for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
Dara Wilson-Grant, Director of Postdoctoral Career and Professional Development
Dara Wilson-Grant oversees the officeʼs career and professional development programs, including designing and delivering select workshops and initiatives. Dara is also the lead career coach for postdoctoral scholars. She is passionate about helping postdocs transition into the next phase of their career — helping them move forward with greater clarity and confidence and equipped with the tools to advance within their chosen career path or change course.
With over 20 years of career management experience, Dara is a recognized leader in postdoctoral career development — an invited speaker and workshop presenter at leading institutions and organizations, guest author for the National Postdoctoral Associationʼs POSTDOCket, and frequently referenced in Science magazineʼs Science Careers.
Dara is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and National Certified Counselor. She completed her Masterʼs degree in Counseling from Fordham University in New York City and holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.
Jennifer Pruitt Harrison, Program Coordinator
Jennifer is the contact for the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, managing the recruitment, selection, and onboarding of scholars with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences coming to Carolina to prepare for tenure-track faculty positions. She also oversees the logistics for the professional development programs and workshops provided for the program. Previously working under the office of the vice chancellor for research as the assistant to the associate vice chancellor for research, she has over fifteen years of experience working at the university.
Jennifer is an alumna of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She has a Master’s degree in Higher Education (CCUL) from Appalachian State University.
Alan Farber, Career Counselor
Alan joined OPA following 27 years as a university career development specialist. Prior to arriving at UNC in 2013, he was the Associate Director of Career Services at the University of San Diego, and the Assistant Director of Career Services at Northern Illinois University (NIU). He has taught graduate career development courses at NIU and the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.
Alan has helped thousands of students and seasoned professionals to explore their options and realize their professional dreams. He has conducted many professional presentations, and written numerous articles, guides, and book chapters on career-related topics.
Alan completed a Ph.D. in Counseling at Michigan State University. He has a Master’s degree in Counseling from Ball State University in Indiana, and a B.A. in Psychology from Marietta College in Ohio.